Thiruvananthapuram, October 7 (BPNS)
The Kerala High Court directed Transport Commissioner S Sreejith to come out with suggestions to make the roads and streets safer. The court also stressed the need for setting up a mechanism through which citizens can bring the violations to the notice of the authorities in real-time.
It was Justice Devan Ramachandran who issued the said direction after meeting the Transport Commissioner in person. The court on the other day had summoned the officer against the backdrop of the Vadakkanchery bus accident, which occurred on Wednesday, that claimed nine lives and left 38 injured.
“An accident of that nature should never happen again; and for this, action is paramount – not merely excuses or explanations, ” said Ramachandran in his interim judgment.
He further added, “The unmistakable caution to a driver, that recklessness on the wheel and the proclivity to violate the law, will never be tolerated and will be dealt with the most stringent response in law is to be fostered and inculcated, because otherwise, nothing can change.”
At the same time, the Transport Commissioner informed the court that the Motor Vehicles Department has been on the job for the last several weeks, if not months and that the fatalities from accidents have now come down 13.7 percent. The officer also informed that the target is to increase to 20 percent in due time.
“The department is planning to launch the Safe Campus project. The plan is to inculcate rules and best practices relating to road traffic from the school days. The very initiative is awaiting the nod of the government,” said Sreejith.
He also added that introduction of a toll-free number for statewide means as also an online application is under active consideration by the department.
Earlier, the court observed that “Even though a large number of violations are being booked daily, it does not seem to create a tangible result on the ground because, presumably, even the offenders continue to do so being aware or being under the perception that the consequences are a trifle.”
The court will again consider the matter on October 28. At that time also, the Transport Commissioner has been asked to present for further interaction, either personally or online.
The other day, a division bench had initiated suo motu cognizance in the accident and the matter is listed on October 10.
Driver charged with murder
At the same time, following widespread criticism, the police on Friday charged Jomon, the driver of the tourist bus, under culpable homicide. The other day, he was charged under Section 304 (ii) (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC. The police also recorded the arrest of Arun, the owner of the tourist bus, for neglecting the overspeed alert and helping Jomon to escape.
“Every angle will be probed, including Joemon’s allegation that the KSRTC bus in front of him had suddenly stopped,” said a police official.
Meanwhile, the KSRTC management informed that it will speed up the process of issuing the accidental insurance claim of Rs 10 lakh to the deceased. Three KSRTC persons lost their lives in the accident.